by Summer Kelley
Marcin (pronounced march-in) Lukaszuk and his best friend were, in Marcin's own words "not good guys." But their lives were about to be turned inside out.
Marcin was born in Poland's East, 30 miles from the border of Belarus. He was raised in a normal Polish Catholic family in the Polish city of Bielsk Podlaski.
As in so many stories we hear from this part of the world, Marcin's father was an alcoholic.
As a young adult, Marcin enjoyed playing basketball with his best friend. A mission basketball team from India came to Bielsk Podlaski. They invited Marcin and his friend to Christian Basketball camp.
Both spent the week there, where they heard about Jesus. After the first week, Marcin knew he needed Jesus, but he was scared of what being a believer would mean for him at home.
Marcin's friend left, but Marcin stayed an additional week at the camp. It was at the close of the second week that Marcin was ready to change and receive forgiveness.
A friend from camp invited him to go help with a Christian Basketball in Germany.
Marcin wasn't sure what he'd be doing. He'd known Jesus one day.
But he went, and stayed a whole month.
A Strange Homecoming
When he returned home, his best friend was in jail for robbing 5 places in one day.
"I should have been with him," Marcin said, "God showed me two paths. My path of change and my friend's path. I knew this was my new path - with Jesus."
Marcin knew many stories of addicted men. He'd seen and lived the pain it caused.
He told God, "If you want to use me - my life - to reach people with addictions, I'm yours."
Marcin went to Warsaw Baptist Seminary for 3 years, returning home to Bielsk Podlaski on weekends where he organized Bible studies and open gyms for the city's youth.
After seminary, Marcin went to the Christian Academy in Warsaw where he completed his Masters in Theology. In 2005, he met his future wife, a counselor at a camp put on by the Christian Foundation, where he worked. Her name was Edyta Fredyk.
Some of you may have guessed it...but Edyta is the daughter of ITMI's Janusz Fredyk, who has worked side-by-side with Piotr Zaremba for years.
Janusz is a pastor at the offshoot of Piotr's church planted many years ago in Gniezno, whose meeting place ITMI helped renovate. He served as the Director of Bread of Life's New Life Center, and now serves as Bread of Life's National Director.
While Janusz was Director at the New Life Center, a therapist left. Marcin began using his pastoral background to provide therapy as a volunteer.
Marcin, with New Life Center alum, Piotr. (Piotr has an incredible story. Read it here.)
As he became more and more vested in the work of the New Life Center, he finished a degree in Integrated Psychotherapy.
In 2011, he took over as the Director of the New Life Center, when Janusz became the National Director of Bread of Life. He's been leading the New Life Center ever since.
Marcin and Edyta Lukaszuk with their two children live in Gniezno, Poland.
Today, (2016) Marcin and his wife live in Gniezno, Poland with their two children, Estera (5) and Noemi(2). They are part of Gniezno Baptist Church, where Marcin leads church meetings. He also teaches Alpha Course, which is a class for adults seeking more information about a relationship with Jesus.
He is also currently pursing a Masters level degree in Psychology.
Marcin is one of the Nationals empowered by ITMI's Bread of Life to make a huge impact in Poland.
Bread of Life leadership: Marcin, Director of New Life Center, Janusz Fredyk, Director of Bread of Life, Richard Nungesser, International Director and Founder of Bread of Life, and the Director of Bread of Life, Poznan in front.
He was recently in the United States with ITMI partner, Richard Nungesser. (Richard and his wife, Brooke, founded Bread of Life together. Richard serves as the International Director of Bread of Life while also pastoring Poznan International Church.)
While they were in Arizona, I had the privilege of sitting down with both of them over lunch, where they gave me the scoop on what life is like at the New Life Center and Bread of Life's big vision for the center this year!
And I get to share it with you! Enjoy!